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Wm. Floyd student sues district for $10M after beating

Jermell Dixon, 19, a William Floyd High School

Jermell Dixon, 19, a William Floyd High School student, says he was beaten up at school because he is gay. (March 3, 2010) Photo Credit: News 12 Image

A William Floyd High School student beaten at the school, allegedly by two men who yelled anti-gay slurs, is suing the district for $10 million, according to a notice of claim his lawyer filed Wednesday.

Kenneth Mollins, the Melville lawyer for the student, Jermell Dixon, 19, said his client is suing the district because school officials did not stop the two men from assaulting Dixon.

"The basis is negligence and carelessness and recklessness and failure to supervise" on the part of staff at William Floyd High School, he said.

Dixon was inside the Mastic Beach school on the morning of March 2 when the two men spotted Dixon near a school entrance, stormed past security officers, and chased Dixon down hallways, Suffolk police said.

Justin Higgins, 21, and Nashon Minter, 19, both of Mastic, were arrested after the altercation. They have both pleaded not guilty to charges of felony assault as a hate crime in connection with the incident. Higgins' lawyer, Jamie Rosner of Patchogue, has said Higgins and Minter beat Dixon because they were angry he'd threatened and teased Higgins' sister, and the fight should not be classified as a hate crime.

Dixon has undergone surgery on his left eye, which was injured in the attack, Mollins said. He hasn't returned to school and is working with home tutors. "He's not doing very well. He's fearful when people come up to him," Mollins said. "He's afraid."

District officials declined to comment. "We can't comment on a pending lawsuit," said district spokesman James Montalto.

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